Just Say No
What if saying no was actually a good thing?
Just this morning my sweet daughter asked me for a piece of candy before breakfast. I say a lot of “no’s” throughout my day, but this morning I thought once piece of chocolate smaller than a quarter wouldn’t hurt her appetite for breakfast. So I said yes.
Saying yes feels good! We like to say yes because it makes people happy. She smiled and skipped away with the sweetness melting in her mouth. My mom heart felt good. Saying no is hard. I don’t like to say no, and I suspect you don’t either.
Saying no feels like we are withholding. When people ask me to do various activities or help with various projects, I have to be careful where I say yes. In fact, I had someone write to me about a writing opportunity. It was something I wanted to do – it was very interesting, but I knew I couldn’t I’ve it the time it would require. I had already committed to serval other guest writing opportunity, so I had to say no to her.
I felt really bad as I typed the email, until I began thinking. Her project and website was on-going, so what if I offered to help out later in the year? Maybe if she contacted me again in six months I would have margin to add her to my list of yeses?
Suddenly it dawned on me, our no’s to people are rarely permeant. Some are, but most of the time we are saying: I don’t have space in my life to do that right now. Right now is the key. No’s can be temporary. I would love to teach again, maybe even teach English online to Chinese children….but that is impossible for me. I have five children who I need to focus my teaching efforts on. Soon my children will be teenagers and into college. Maybe then I’ll look into teaching English.
The best advice I got was from a Cynthia Heald study called “Becoming a Women of Simplicity.” In this Bible study, she said: “Just because there is a need doesn’t mean you are the one to fill it.” I look around at my church, community, and friends. There are so many needs and opportunities for ministry! Not all of those are mine, though. Saying no to these feels bad, but God has called us to do the work around us.
As we learned from Hebrews, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16. Share what you have is the secret to finding out where to say no and yes to!
Do you have room in your life for this? Does your heart have room to handle the emotions connect with this project? Can your budget and time accommodate this new activity? Serving others doesn’t mean we run until we are dry. We share, serve, with what we have. No more and no less.
Embrace your limits and know they are there by God to protect you. Just because you have to say no to a project, an idea, an opportunity, or ministry doesn’t’ mean it is a never-no. It is just a not-right-now-no. I’d love to teach a Sunday School class one day, but I know I don’t have margin in my life for that. One day I will, but not right now. Embrace your season, don’t be embarrassed by it.
What area do you need to say no to?
Can it be a temporary no?
Even good things will steal the best things from our lives.
Choose wisely how you will give of your resources.